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Creative Outreach Toolkit

Tools and resources to create and host a collections-based creative project or outreach event.

Event Planning

Below are templates workflows and checklists for successfully planning your own in-person, hybrid, or online event. The most important element with event planning is to give yourself plenty of lead time. While events can be successful when planned with little time to spare, it is best to have at least a month to publicize your event. Zoe Bastone's 2020 article "Creating an Outreach Plan that Accounts for the Seen and Unforeseen" provides a useful high-level planning structure and step-by-step list of action items. 


Keep sustainable practices in mind in the planning your event. There is a useful guide on sustainable event planning available here, created by Evan Meszaros and Mandi Goodsett have created a useful guide on sustainable event planning

Connect with your Campus or institutional sustainability office, if there is one, for resources and recommendations on food suppliers, carbon offsets, and sustainable dishes and catering options.


Assessing the success of a library event is often difficult, as the literature states again and again. Outreach events aim to promote the visibility of and engagement with collections and that is difficult to measure systematically. It is crucial to build in an assessment strategy when planning your event. Here are some metrics to consider, and a list of further reading to guide your choice. 

At the very least, you can reflect on your event with an internal debrief, evaluating with your team:

1. What went well?  

2. What went wrong? What can you improve on to make future events run better?

Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment Measures for Library Outreach Events
Quantitative metrics Qualitative feedback
Attendees, online and in-person Email messages received after the event
RSVPS Social media comments 
New sign-ups to your mailing list Anecdotal interactions at service points at event - e.g. comments to staff, directional questions, etc.

Type of attendee - e.g. student, community, faculty, staff. Important to track your reach both on and off-campus

Capturing comments using post-its, whiteboards, etc.
Social media interactions with event PR material In-person observations, photos, and documentation: have staff observe and document impressions of the event, demographics, and engagement with event content.

Views of the recording


In-person audience surveys, administered by staff or volunteers at the event  

Further Reading on Library Outreach Assessment:

Workflow and Hybrid Event Templates


Neither of the two event workflows linked above includes the crucial component of event follow-up. This important step is up to you to decide. It is best practice to send a follow-up email including:

  • Relevant recording(s),
  • Links to collection resources,
  • Links to patterns (if relevant),
  • Collection access information and hours,
  • Option to sign up for your mailing list,
  • Feedback survey.

McGill Patterns

Free patterns inspired by the McGill Library Rare and Special Collections, along with recordings of the events that launched these patterns.

Each of these patterns supported a library outreach event, either in virtual or hybrid format, or an associated workshop on fundamental skills required to create these patterns. Please feel free to use the patterns and/or event recordings at your own library events, and we'd love to hear from you!


Contact a Librarian

Jacquelyn Sundberg, Outreach Librarian
@Wellsinton on Ravelry

Kristen Howard, Liaison Librarian

@theclosestknit on Ravelry

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